Meet the Correspondent: Omar Jaramillo > Berlin$show=/search/label/Omar%20Jaramillo

"I was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where I studied architecture. I moved to Kassel (Germany) in 1999 to accomplish a master degree. Although I have always drawn and paint, it was not until I started studying in the Uni-Kassel, that I started keeping a travel sketchbook. I had a teacher there who used to do a lot of sketches when he travelled on university excursions. When he retired, I helped to organize an exhibition of his sketches. He brought a huge box full of sketchbooks he had filled since he was an architecture student. I spent a whole day selecting the most interesting drawings. It was a wonderful experience that opened my eyes to a new world. In the last 10 years I have the feeling of being in a long journey. I like to discover the cities where I live, to understand why a place is the way it is and what makes it different and unique from others. Drawing is for me a way to learn to love a place, to become part of it. I like to draw architecture but I am more attracted to urban scenery, portraying how people live in the city. Since I’m a foreigner, everything that locals find normal and taken-for-granted, for me is exotic. I always carry a small watercolor travel set from Windsor and Newton and my sketchbook in my bag. I always thought that drawing was a solitary experience until I found Urban Sketchers. It was amazing to find so many people doing the same thing. It is a great place to share!" • Omar's blog. • Omar's art on flickr. • Omar's website.

Meet the Correspondent: Luis Ruiz > Malaga, Spain$show=/search/label/Luis%20Ruiz

Vintage Signage

When you sketch a place – a view, a street, a monument – you get to know it so well. The light, the textures, the colors, all the stuff you would miss if you weren’t looking so deeply. So it’s a bittersweet feeling when it no longer exists: I am glad I got to sketch it and know it before it was gone, but it’s gone forever…
Few things are disappearing as quickly as neon signs. It used to be that every proud business owner would put up as flashy a sign as they could. Glowing neon, flashing arrows illuminated by bulbs, all with beautiful typography…Todays backlit vinyl signs do a poor job of matching up to those gorgeous signs.
So I sketched a couple of signs in my neighborhood last week and plan to add more to my sketchbooks while they're still around.
Why did so many dry cleaners have neon signs? I don't know, but this one at Elite Cleaners in San Jose won't be around too long. The cleaners are moving. They were amused when I asked if the signs moves with them...

Another look at the sign, up close this time. I love that serpentine arrow.

This sketch is of a sign by Felafel’s Drive-In, a popular felafel joint with a classic American drive-in sign. The good news? This place is thriving and they’re not going anywhere soon. I sketched this sign on what was possibly our only really rainy day this year.

Next up? I’m looking for suggestions. Know of a Bay Area location with a great vintage sign? A theater marquee? Or a handpainted storefront sign? Let me know, I’d love to sketch it.
To see a set of my vintage sign sketches so far, head over to this set on flickr.

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